International View



F or many, the world of wine can be an intimidating one. Foreign names, esoteric terminology and convoluted etiquette can make for uncertain territory, even for the more seasoned drinker. Yet Master of Wine Nicola Arcedeckne-Butler exudes a warmth guaranteed to put even the most amateur of wine enthusiasts at ease. As passionate as she is knowledgeable, she patiently answers my (many) questions during our 90-minute conversation, conveying as much respect for €2 bottles of wine as for fourÅOure ^intaOes. »1¼U deÅnitela not a _ine snoJ,¼ she saas. »7f Kourse, I appreciate a good vintage wine – but I am also very happy to drink a decent £10 bottle, too.’ Such a statement perfectly captures the current wine market. Since its introduction to supermarkets and subsequent widespread commercialisation some 40 years ago, wine has become easily accessible, almost irrespective of budget or location. Yet at the upper end of the scale, it continues to grow in popularity as a luxury investment. The latest Knight Frank Luxury Investment Index notes Åne _ine as the seKond Uost XoXular in^estUent after art, with an 11% increase in the past year alone. Cabernet Sauvignon is proving particularly popular; Screaming Eagle has surged in price by 106% over the past 12 months (according to the Knight Frank Fine Wine Icon Index KoUXiled Ja ?ine 7_ners and a Jottle of

Now the influence of such wine advocates as Robert Parker is waning, what’s next? Apps such as Vivino and CellarTracker mean that plenty of information and opinions on particular wines are readily available, so wine enthusiasts no longer need to rely on just one or two individuals. Local wine merchants have enjoyed a resurgence over recent years, and can be a great source of knowledge, leading to the discovery of a new favourite bottle. I myself regularly pop into independent wine merchants – although there’s often a bit of nervous laughter when I mention that I’m a Master of Wine. Should wine be considered an investment or should we concentrate on drinking it? At its heart, wine is an agricultural product that can provide great pleasure – I always advise my clients that they should only invest in wine that they’d be prepared to drink. If it does turn a profit, that’s just a bonus. It saddens me to think of it as a mere commodity locked away in a warehouse. How do you choose investment-grade wines? If you’re looking for a hard investment, you have two options of wine: ‘blue chip’ or up-and-coming. There are about 150 ‘blue chip’ wines in the market. They’re a hefty investment and provide a lower annual yield, but are guaranteed to turn a profit. In contrast, lesser-known wines are cheaper but unpredictable; their value may suddenly shoot up – or drop exponentially. It’s also worth remembering that, unlike art or jewellery, wine is a wasting asset. If considering when best to drink a bottle, the safest option is to look at merchant recommendations and take the middle route. Do you have any tips on how to best store fine wines? The rules for storing wine are straightforward: store in a dark place away from vibrations; maintain a temperature of between 10 and 15 degrees Celsius; and keep humidity at 70%. Ideally, you need a cellar that can maintain a steady temperature regardless of season and isn’t directly above a Tube line in London, as can often be the case. Attending smaller, regional auctions is definitely a good place to start when building a wine collection. There are often mixed boxes on offer, comprising traditional favourites with lesser-known wines, so it’s a great way to familiarise yourself while trying something new – and you’re less likely to fall victim to a fake. Ultimately, my main advice to clients is to have the confidence to explore; there are endless incredible wines from all over the world. As I’m fond of saying: ‘so many wines, so little time!’ What advice would you give those who are looking to start or perhaps improve their wine collections?

€10 bottles as the ones worth hundreds or even thousands. Even small growers have the know-how to be particular about the fruit they are harvesting. As the latest generation emerges, so too does a more experimental outlook. Some of my clients are wedded to Bordeaux and Burgundy, but their children enjoy the NewWorld alternatives. As the next generation of vineyard owners return from studying wine around the world, they’re introducing new ideas on how to produce wine. Fake wine is a huge issue – not only for the consumer, but also for the wines being imitated. A former colleague of Uine _as deeXla disaXXointed Ja his Årst e^er taste of Le Pin, only to be served it again several years later and realise that his Årst e`XerienKe Kouldn¼t ha^e been authentic. Part of the problem is that fake wine is often of fairly decent quality. Rudy Kurniawan [the world’s biggest _ine forOerE Ålled Karefulla laJelled Jottles _ith _ine worth around £30; combine that with a general lack of selfKonÅdenKe in _ine Sno_ledOe, and aou JeOin to understand how he managed to deceive so many for so long. However, people are beginning to wise up. Auctions are now cancelled if fake wines are discovered, and some wine providers supply restaurants with new bottles on an exchange basis with the empty ones in order to reduce the risS of theU JeinO reÅlled and sold on as faSes. How (if at all) have wine collectors’ tastes changed over the years? /loJalisation has had a huOe inÆuenKe on _ine KolleKtors¼ tastes; people are much more open to experiencing new wine from new regions. The market is maturing and more XeoXle are looSinO further aÅeld, de^eloXinO their o_n tastes rather than following the latest trends. It is hard to pinpoint just one region or wine, but my top picks would be small producers from classic regions such as Lamy- Caillat in Chassagne-Montrachet, or indigenous grapes from less well-known areas, such as Fiano or Negramaro from Puglia. Regions such as Georgia and China are also beginning to make some very serious wines – there are a lot of froOs to Siss Jefore ÅndinO the riOht _ines, Jut eaKh year sees leaps and strides in quality and curiosity value. The US continues to be important, and although the rarest wines such as Screaming Eagle and Harlan will remain the preserve of the few, a notch or two below are stunning wines, which now systematically achieve between 95 and 100 points each year – such as Dominus and Insignia, to name but two. What is your favourite wine? 1¼U Kurrentla in the throes of a Xassionate lo^e a ٺ air with white Bordeaux; a single sip and I’m in paradise. What are your top picks for up and coming vineyards/wines around the world in 2018? How big an issue is fake wine? How can it be identified?

“ THERE are a lot of FROGS to kiss before finding the RIGHT WINES , but each year sees LEAPS and STRIDES in quality and CURIOSITY VALUE ”

What impact has wealth creation in markets such as China had on the wine market? Wealth movements have sparked a global interest in wine that Kan often lead to tiOht foKuses on sXeKiÅK reOions, causing pricing to shoot up and distort the rest of the wine market. Bordeaux is a classic example; it underwent a marked increase in pricing after becoming particularly popular with Chinese buyers in the early 2000s and, almost 20 years later, still has a reputation for being expensive. In reality, many Bordeaux wine farmers are producing €2 bottles and are struggling to make a living. At present, Burgundy is the drink of choice for the Chinese; it hasn’t pushed up prices yet, but available stock is limited. Regardless, a global wine market is definitely a good thinO · anaone _ho saas other_ise is Rust su ٺ erinO froU a case of sour grapes!

at every stage of the journey – from vineyard growers to end-consumers – to, in her own words, make ‘the journey from vineyard to glass as short as possible’. Given the global nature of Arcedeckne-Butler’s client list, there are often ^era di ٺ erent reYuireUents. ;oUe are looking to discover a new wine; some are looking for a wise investment; others are simply looking to send out the right message to their guests at an upcoming dinner party. ‘The wine I recommend to each client is very personal, tailored to their requirements and current collection,’ explains Arcedeckne-Butler. ‘Chinese buyers, for example, place a lot of importance on names and numbers, often seeking wine that involves the number eight. That isn’t necessarily something that would be a consideration for buyers elsewhere in the world.’ With a career of globe-trotting and wine-tasting, Arcedeckne-Butler’s life may seem idyllic to many people – but it has its demands. ‘It can be intense,’ she admits. ‘I regularly receive phone calls on Friday evenings from clients looking for last-minute wine recommendations. But I love it. Few people are able to establish careers based on exploring and sharing their passion with others around the world. ?hen 1 Ånalla rela` at the end of a lonO daa _ith Ua current favourite bottle, I feel very fortunate.’

Casa dell’Abate on the Castello di Reschio estate, Italy. For sale through Knight Frank

How have traditional wine-producing areas like France reacted to the threat of NewWorld wines?

It was a real shock to the industry when wine started emerging from places such as Australia in the 1980s. While they weren’t great wines back then, they were absolutely consistent and very easy to drink. It has undoubtedly raised the bar of wine production around the world at every level; as much care and attention is lavished on the

Mougins, Alpes Maritimes, Cote D’Azur. For sale through Knight Frank



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